Senator Fischer Talks Immigration, Strong Families Act & VA Reform

U.S. Senator Deb Fischer is back in Nebraska during Congress' five week recess.

Wednesday morning she met with constituents in Lincoln at Southeast Community College. She then stopped by 10/11 to talk about everything from immigration, VA healthcare reform and the Strong Families Act.

When Senator Deb Fischer found out veterans were dying, waiting to get care VA facilities, she knew that had to be stopped.

The senator says she hasn't heard about any problems at facilities in Nebraska, but believes new reforms, just passed by Congress on July 31, are a step in the right direction.

For Nebraska veterans, the VA hospital or clinic isn't always a short drive. That's why Senator Deb Fischer says recent changes, like the option of a choice card, will help our former service members.

Senator Deb Fischer said, "They can have this choice card, where they can go to a private provider if they have to wait more than 30 days to get into the VA. If a veteran lives more than 40 miles from a VA facility, they're going to be able to take this choice card and go to their local provider."

Senator Fischer met with veterans this week, who told her their concerns, especially when filling out paperwork.

She added, "For a few it's a tedious process to go through, they can become discouraged, if they stop with one group they're trying to get in, if someone thinks they've had enough, I can't deal with this and they drop out, then they have to start over again."

Senator Fischer said she keeps in touch with veterans county services officers and expects feedback in the coming months on whether the changes are working.

On immigration, Senator Fischer just got back from a trip with six other senators to the southern border. While there they visited McAllen Border Patrol Station, the Hidalgo Bridge connecting the United States and Mexico, and facilities at Lackland Air Force Base currently housing children from Central American who have illegally crossed the southern border.

While visiting, border patrol agents told Senator Fischer and her colleagues they want to target certain areas where there's no fence and it's easier for people to illegally cross.

Sen. Fischer said, "They feel a fence would slow that down, would help them do their job better."

Senator Fischer said she had a chance to go inside a booth at the Hidalgo Bridge. There she saw the how a computer checked the car and people coming into the US. But she says that same information isn't available on the way out.

"The problem I was told is with the exit, they see the car leave, they can identify the car, but they don't see who's in it.

Senator Fischer believes to stop this immigration crisis Congress needs to make changes to the current law passed in 2008, which was an effort was to stop child sex trafficking. That law allows unaccompanied kids from countries other than Mexico and Canada to have a hearing before an immigration judge. Fischer said everyone needs to be treated the same.

"When someone comes in from Mexico or Canada illegally, they are turned around or sent back, that doesn't happen with these central American countries."

The Nebraska Senator's Strong Families Act is designed to to give workplace flexibility to working moms and dads.

Her bill co-sponsored with Maine Senator Angus King would allow hourly employees to take up to four weeks paid time off. In exchange, the business owner would get a 25% tax credit.

She said the incentive to take part is not a mandate - and businesses could see more productive employees.

"Because they would have that flexibility to take that hour or two off, and take care of their children, their parents, an emergency, and still receive pay for it."